Feature

When Africans fight America’s wars

The week's news at a glance.

Uganda

Opiyo OloyaNew Vision

Are Ugandans being recruited as cannon fodder for Iraq? asked Opiyo Oloya in Kampala’s New Vision. Last week, this paper reported that Askar Security, a local firm, was recruiting thousands of people for security jobs in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy said the company had no subcontract and no such recruitment was planned. But to anyone familiar “with the cutthroat, multibillion-dollar global security contractor business,” the story is all too plausible. We know that the U.S. military, “stretched thin to the breaking point” with the war, told Bechtel, Halliburton, and the other companies rebuilding Iraq to “BYOA—bring your own army.” At first, those firms hired Brits and Americans, mostly ex-military men. But that changed after the families of four highly trained ex-Navy SEALS, who were ambushed and murdered in 2004, brought a negligence lawsuit against the security company the men worked for. Now the firms are “quietly turning to developing nations.” Africans are seen as ideal workers. They’re much cheaper to hire than Westerners. And when they die, their survivors “are less likely to launch wrongful-death lawsuits.”

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